Council's policy on managing driving and parking on Midsummer Common and enforcement thereof

The request was successful.

Dear Cambridge City Council,

Vehicles driving over Midsummer Common and parking outside the Fort St George public house or Midsummer House restaurant is a long-standing problem that has grown worse in recent times. Big service lorries drive off the paths and damage the surrounding environment. Employees of the two establishments park their cars on the Common and are joined by pub customers. Taxis drive over the Common and drop passengers off at the restaurant.

What is the Council's policy on managing driving and parking on this part of Midsummer Common? And what does the Council do to enforce this policy?

Yours faithfully,

John Lawton

Dear Cambridge City Council,

could you issue me with an acknowledgement of my FOI request, just so I know that you are aware of it please?

Yours faithfully,

John Lawton

Alistair Wilson, Cambridge City Council

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Dear Mr Lawton,

Thank you for your recent Freedom of Information request as follows: -

 

·         Vehicles driving over Midsummer Common and parking outside the
Fort St George public house or Midsummer House restaurant is a
long-standing problem that has grown worse in recent times. Big service
lorries drive off the paths and damage the surrounding environment.
Employees of the two establishments park their cars on the Common and are
joined by pub customers. Taxis drive over the Common and drop passengers
off at the restaurant.

 

·         What is the Council's policy on managing driving and parking on
this part of Midsummer Common?  And what does the Council do to enforce
this policy?

 

As the information you requested meets the definition of environmental
information it will be dealt with under the Environmental Information
Regulations 2004, as permitted under Section 39 of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000.

 

The Regulations define "environmental information". This includes
information relating to "built structures" to the extent that these are,
or may be, affected by environmental elements; e.g. water or soil. The
definition of environmental information also includes information
concerning the state of the elements of the environment, such as air and
atmosphere, water, soil, land, landscape and natural sites, as well as
measures that might affect or are intended to protect those elements.

 

We have determined that the information you are seeking falls within the
definition of "environmental information" as it relates to the state of
the elements, and measures intended to protect them.

 

The City Council is obliged, as a matter of law, to take a view on which
regime applies. If information falls within the scope of the Environmental
Information Regulations, then the City Council cannot consider it under
the Freedom of Information Act.

 

In response to your request:-

 

What is the Council's policy on managing driving and parking on this part
of Midsummer Common? 

 

The Council has no formal written policy on managing driving and parking
on Midsummer Common.  The Council does however have an Enforcement
Policy.  The Enforcement Policy is available to download from this web
link.

 

https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/sites/www.c...

 

The Enforcement Policy sets out an approach to be adopted by Council
services when carrying out the Council’s duty to apply or enforce a wide
range of legislation.  The Councils Enforcement Policy is intended to:

•             Assist businesses and others in meeting their legal
obligations without unnecessary expense;

•             Focus on prevention rather than cure;

•             Ensure that we enforce the law in a fair, equitable and
consistent manner;

•             Take firm action when it is necessary and appropriate to do
so; and 

•             Carry out enforcement that is risk-based, consistent,
proportionate and effective.

 

Records on file show that informal efforts have been made since 1991 to
ensure the gate on Midsummer Common was closed and locked, to prevent
unauthorised access.

 

The installation of an automated gate and by continuing to correspond with
the proprietors and managers of Fort St George and Midsummer House
Restaurant, the Council has acted in accordance with its enforcement
policy, by trying to seeking a resolution through informal means.

 

The automated gate operates by recognising telephone numbers from
authorised users.  The gate has had periods of being inoperable due to
technical failure or damage from vehicle collisions; and this has led to
unauthorised access.  Authorised users of the automated gate include
Council Officers, the management team of both premises on Midsummer
Common, the City Council out of hour’s service and emergency services.

 

There are signs on the automated gate that detail no unauthorised access.

 

The Council has exchanged written correspondence with both the owners of
the Fort St George and Midsummer Common in relation to parking on the
Common, to seek to resolve the issue by informal means.  The City Council
is currently considering formal action with respect to persistent car
parking on Midsummer Common.

 

When damage is reported to us, and the vehicle is identifiable do we make
a claim for the cost of repairing the damage.

 

The City Council and the County Council are currently working on making
improvements for authorised vehicle access.  A project to consider path
lay out and width, is to be consulted upon this summer.

 

And what does the Council do to enforce this policy?

 

The Enforcement Policy addresses prosecution and recognises that the
decision to prosecute is significant and could have far reaching
consequences for the offender.

 

The following criteria will be considered;-

•             Whether the standard of evidence is sufficient for there to
be a realistic prospect of conviction and

•             Whether the prosecution is in the public interest.

 

The Council has entered into a Deed of Easement with the owners of the
Fort St George, relating to setting out their access rights.

 

Midsummer House was sold under the right-to-buy scheme on the 8th March
1988. The transfer contained an express right of way at all times and for
all purposes to go pass and repass along any roads and on foot any
footpaths which now serve the property.

 

It is not a criminal offence to park on the Common.  It is the driving
across the Common without lawful authority that comprises the offence
under the Law of Property Act and Road Traffic Act.

 

Parking on the Common without the Councils permission or without the right
to park would be trespass, for which the Council can issue civil
proceedings.

 

The Court would expect the Council to resolve problems without civil
proceedings,  if this were possible.  Failure to do this would the Council
at risk on costs

 

The Council continues to seek informal resolution of the issues relating
to parking on the Common.  No decision has been made in relation to formal
action; however the process of evidence gathering is current.

 

If you are dissatisfied with our response, you are entitled to ask for a
review. A request for a review should be addressed to

 

Mr Joel Carre,

Head of Streets and Open Space,

Mill Road,

Cambridge,

CB2 3AZ.

 

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of an internal review, you are
entitled to pursue an appeal to the Information Commissioner.

 

The Information Commissioner’s address is:

 

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire SK9 5AF

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Mr Alistair Wilson

Streets and Open Space- Development Manager

 

 

Please consider the environment - do you really need to print this

e-mail?

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